Our boy turned three last week, and it was a sweet time of anticipation and a simple celebration. Dustin had been looking forward to his birthday for several months, ever since someone else we knew had a birthday. There were a few weeks when he would ask us daily if it was his birthday. Apparently, our answer was always, “It’s coming up!” because that’s what he started telling us. “My birthday’s coming up!”
Thankfully, three year olds are easy to please, so even with all that expectation our simple celebration was a success. We celebrated the day after his birthday because Alex had class on the actual day. Dustin had to have his three year doctor checkup the morning we celebrated. He didn’t love it (understatement), even though we had read The Wee Bear Who Didn’t Want to Go to the Doctor repeatedly leading up to the day. We survived, though, and it was all quickly forgotten when we came home and took naps. (He also has repeatedly told me he wants to go to the doctor since then, so, who knows.)
Dustin’s birthday requests were simple: Macaroni and cheese for dinner, a cake with animals on it, and presents. He helped me pick out balloons and a party hat the day before at the store, and the balloons may have been the biggest hit of the birthday. The kids are still playing with them. We got him a set of magnet tiles, and I made a cake and put plastic animals on top. There’s lots of ways I love to be creative, but baking is not one of them. This is my favorite cake decorating shortcut. (Last year he asked for tractors on his cake, so I crumbled oreos on top of the cake [dirt] and then put some plastic tractors on top.)
We ate our mac and cheese, sang happy birthday, and ate cake. Dustin was so excited to play with the magnet tiles, though, that the cake got quickly pushed aside. We finished the evening off with video chatting with all the grandparents. Not a bad evening, indeed. I’m really loving this season where things like birthdays can stay pretty simple and be just a special time with our family. I know things will change as we enter new phases with the kids and their wishlist goes beyond “macaroni and something to unwrap,” but I think there are still ways to hold onto the simplicity and specialness of our little family celebrations.
As the kids get older and begin to remember from year to year, I’d really like to start incorporating some meaningful traditions into their birthdays. Ways to honor them and express how thankful we are for their lives. Special breakfasts and time for intentional words are a couple ideas I’m starting with. Do you have any favorite traditions for birthdays?